The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) creates a new role called a Data Protection Officer which assists a data controller or processor to monitor their internal compliance.
Although not every organisation requires a Data Protection Officer (DPO), the GDPR provides that the DPO may be an internal, organisational employee or may be outsourced and perform his or her duties through a service contract.
However, although some organisations are hesitant to outsource their DPO service, there are many benefits to organisations choosing this route.
The principle benefits to outsourcing your DPO are as follows:
An external DPO adds an extra layer of accountability and support for your organisation
They provide expert, objective advice that the organisation can trust because they are independent. Furthermore, this independence is often well-received by regulatory authorities which may view the introduction of an external DPO as an indication of the organisation’s level of transparency and accountability. Finally, DPOs have a requirement to ensure confidentiality, which can be further assured by non-disclosure agreements included in the service contract.
An external DPO usually includes a whole team of experts
Providers of outsourced DPO services are usually characterised by a team of experts with different specialities, e.g., healthcare, marketing, etc., as well as DPIAs, data breaches, legitimate interest assessments, etc.
Depending on the organisation’s needs, an outsourced DPO service can assign experts tailored to the organisation’s profile and bring in additional experts on an ad hoc basis as required.
In addition, an outsourced DPO service is usually delivered to multiple clients, allowing your DPO to bring good practice lessons from their whole client base to your compliance team.
A professional DPO will also develop a library of templates and provide those to clients, using good practice from new and existing clients to continuously improve them.
An outsourced DPO can also provide continuity of service
Outsourced DPO services can combine remote and on-site delivery, depending on a client’s needs. On-site support can be used for complex, in-depth activities, while remote support can be used for ad hoc queries and compliance reviews (allowing organisations to save on overhead).
In addition, a DPO team builds in redundancy, business continuity and cover for public holidays, employee absences and periods of leave as well as out-of-hours support. Having someone available at all times can prove invaluable in the case of data breaches or urgent queries.
An outsourced DPO is more likely to have a collaborative relationship with regulatory authorities
Outsourced DPOs often contact Data Protection Authorities on a regular basis on behalf of multiple clients. As a result, they often form relationships of mutual respect with regulatory authorities, which can be useful when drafting compliance materials.
Specifically, an outsourced DPO will have experience communicating with DPAs.
Choosing an outsourced DPO service can have many benefits to your organisation beyond having a designated role for monitoring data protection compliance. The benefits above demonstrate the value of considering this route when choosing how to implement the GDPR.
For more information on outsourcing your Data Protection Officer visit our Data Governance page and contact our team: